Sunday March 21, 2010 | 06:37 AM

Thanks to a wonderful early spring, Hadlock Field looks ready to play on, instead of being covered in layers of snow, as we've seen in a previous March or two, or 10.

Not too many changes at Hadlock this year, but the Sea Dogs are trying to help the hitters a little. Some of the advertising signs have been cleared away from center field. The background, called the batter's eye, gives hitters a better background to see the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand.

A screen has been erected beyond the centerfield wall. Above the 40-foot screen is a Maine Medical Center ad.

I always liked seeing the trees beyond the center field wall. I suppose the screen does give a more solid background (and you can't put an ad on top of the trees).

It should be an improvement for the hitters.

And the Sea Dogs should be getting some promising hitters, including Ryan Kalish, Luis Exposito and Lars Anderson.

And there will be fireworks, bobblehead and Zooperstars, too. See today's On Baseball column in the Sunday Telegram.

The Red Sox made a few moves on Saturday. They invited back left-handed reliever Alan Embree, one of the bullpen stars of the 2004 playoff run (he also starred in 2003 until Game 7 of the ALCS when the manager ignored his bullpen ... but we won't go there). Embree, 40, will compete for the final bullpen spot, along with lefty Brian Shouse and Brian Nelson and Scott Atchison.

Remember this photo of Embree and catcher Jason Varitek? It came after the final out of Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS in Yankee Stadium.

In other Red Sox news, two former Sea Dogs, lefty Felix Doubront and catcher Mark Wagner, were sent to minor league camp, joining Triple-A Pawtucket.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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